Vetting Text Companies

Unlike email, texting is regulated by TCPA laws, monitored by the cell phone carriers, and enforced by the FCC. Here are the basics of what lube operators need to know about text message compliance.

Proving Permission

It is illegal to send even one outgoing marketing text message to a consumer before he/she opts-in to receive it.

The best way to collect an opt-in is for the consumer to use his/her own personal cell phone, and text a keyword to a shortcode that has been approved to send alerts by the wireless carriers.

When the consumer sends the text message, it establishes “proof” of who, where and when the consumer opted-in. Text message companies are required to store this “proof” in case of a dispute.

Equally important – consumers must be able to opt-out anytime to quit receiving texts, and if a consumer changes their cell phone number, the old number must also quit receiving texts.

POS Systems are Problematic

Point-of-sale and CRM/DMS systems are not designed to collect, and store “proof” of consumer opt-ins, opt-outs, and cell phone number changes. Therefore, text vendors that rely on POS/CRM/DMS databases to gather cell phone numbers put lube operators at legal risk.

Vetting the Vendor

Text Vendors doing any of these 5 RED FLAGS are putting lube operators at LEGAL RISK:

  1. opt-ins are captured in an onsite POS/CRM system (or paper file)
  2. vendor accesses cell phone numbers from an onsite POS/CRM database
  3. vendor asks for consumers’ wireless provider (i.e. Verizon, Sprint, etc) when they opt-in
  4. vendor sends text messages from a number longer than 6 digits
  5. vendor cannot provide wireless carrier shortcode approvals

© 2017 Digital Rocket

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When Lubes Go Viral

Sending oil change reminders and coupons is Retention Marketing — targeting a group of people who purchased before, and then sending them an offer to come back and purchase again.

By design, retention marketing is not intended to attract new customers. That’s Acquisition Marketing – targeting people who are not existing customers.

But something magical happens when you send a text offer to a mobile phone. Mobile phones have a built-in social thing that urges people to share stuff. So they do.

We put this sharing phenomenon to the test:

Over two months we sent 3,406 mobile oil change offers. 100 percent of the people who received the mobile offers were existing customers, but only 89 percent of the people who redeemed them were existing customers. The remaining 11 percent who redeemed them were new customers.

How did this happen?

The same way that Twitter comments get re-tweeted, or YouTube videos go viral, these mobile coupons were shared and passed on.

Sharing them resulted in 11.1% of the car count coming from new customers.

< Digital Rocket web site

How to get Consumers’ Permission

Consumers who give permission to get text messages have decided that they highly value the companies that send them.

Permission is an indicator of value. In other words, your most valuable customers will be text customers. In fact, twenty percent more customers who visit two or more times per year, are text customers.

You won’t be able to buy your way into a permission database. Unlike email, you can’t buy cell phone numbers. You must start at 0. And grow 1 at a time.

Digital Rocket understands that asking customers to sign-up difficult. So don’t do it! We designed a special POP Kit to get your consumer database growing quickly without asking a single person to sign-up.

We have many customers that are successful with our program, even when they’ve had poor results with other email or text programs. It’s why we’re the best text marketing mobile platform you’ll find.

The Downside of Quitting Postcards Cold Turkey

Postcards have become much less effective, and much more expensive. Consequently overpaying for marketing postcards cut into profits.

However not communicating with customers altogether just leaves owners spending less, and making less.

Over time, short-term gains in lowering expenses is offset by declines in revenue because routine communication is the secret to retention.

Alternatively owners should look for sustainable strategies that lower costs, but are pro-growth, and increase revenue and profit.

Our permission-based text and email programs provide marketing cost savings, as well as profit gains.

© 2015 Digital Rocket

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Why Text Messages Get Better Response Rates

It’s pretty simple. Everyone has a cell phone, and it’s the preferred way for people to communicate. Text messages get delivered — and READ — almost 100% of the time. Not true at all for mail, or email.

High Speed
Snail-mail is the slowest form of communication, and the most expensive. Mailed postcards bring consumers back the slowest, and account for thousands of dollars in lost profit every year. Email does bring consumers back quicker than mailed postcards. Text messages bring consumers back for service up to 60 days quicker than email, or mail.

High Read-Rates
Most of what is being sent by snail-mail — and email — is JUNK mail. So people have adopted strategies to avoid it.

The U.S. Postal Service is tight-lipped about the percentage of “junk” it delivers, but it’s estimated to be well over 50% of all mail. 3 out of 4 emails sent are unwanted. Anti-virus software has made it easier for consumers to put up a wall between themselves and advertisers. Internet service providers and spam-blockers have the final say on whether email gets delivered. Much of it does not.

© 2015 Digital Rocket

< Digital Rocket web site

Some POS Reports Can Warp Reality

Owners rely on POS (point-of-sale) system reports to guide their business decisions. Most of the time, these reports are excellent, time-saving resources.

However, there are two popular POS reports that can actually warp reality. These reports should not be used to make marketing decisions, because they will not reflect the current health of the business. They are the  “Retention” & “Miles Driven Between Visits” reports.

Some POS system’s retention reports are at best, misleading. They mislead owners into thinking that they have a high retention or loyalty rate. In fact, most owners have nothing close to the 75-80% retention rates reported.

Some POS systems count all repeat customers — and value them the same —  whether they last visited 36 days ago, or 36 months ago. Or whether they visited 4 times in the past year, or 1 time in the past 4 years. So the report has nothing to do with retention, or loyalty. And yet some owners rely on this report to evaluate both.

In order for retention and loyalty percentages to be valuable, they should reflect a repeat purchase made during a reasonable buying cycle. The buying cycle for an oil change is 2-4 times per year. Retention and loyalty should be calculated on the number of repeat visits made during the buying cycle.

There isn’t an owner alive who values a customer who visits once every 4 years, as much as a customer who visits 4 times a year. But some POS systems don’t distinguish the difference, nor do some POS systems accurately count how many miles a customer drives between oil changes.

Some POS systems auto-generate warped reports showing the average miles driven between visits. These reports show wildly skewed results by calculating the miles driven between a prior visit and a current visit, and then averaging them across a customer group over time.

But these reports don’t account for someone who may have only visited once previously — 3 years ago — and drove 30,000 miles in-between visits. One transaction like this spoils the whole information picture. Does it mean that this person actually drove 30,000 miles between oil changes? That’s absurd. However, the report says, yes! And uses the data to skew the entire report. The bottom line is that this report is useless for analyzing buying behavior, or guiding marketing strategy.

Understanding the true, current picture of how well shops are able to get customers to return for service, and how quickly they return is vitally important to designing a marketing plan. However, some reports don’t paint a current picture. Nor do they create a true picture. Instead, they create a warped picture of what’s really happening, and cause owners to formulate false views about their problems and the solutions needed to fix them.

If you’re relying on these two POS reports to help you understand the current health of your business, or your customers’ buying behavior, give us a call at (800) 355-3412. We’ll help figure out if the reports are accurate, help you understand your customers’ buying behavior, and define a marketing strategy based on accurate data.

© 2012 Digital Rocket

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Why Jiffy Lube was Sued $47 Million, for Texting

Back in April of 2011, Heartland Jiffy Lube hired a SMS text service to send a couple million text messages to their customers. Now, after a lengthy class-action lawsuit, Heartland’s settlement requires them to pay $46.8 million in damages, or roughly $20 per spam message.

How did it happen?
TextMarks, the SMS text service that Heartland hired, didn’t enforce the most elementary rules about text marketing.

EVERY consumer must provide an EXPLICIT opt-in using a cell phone or another approved way of giving permission, like a special web form. At the time of opt-in, very specific language is required to tell the consumer exactly what they are signing-up for. Everyone must be able to opt-out any time, and be able to get information regarding help, terms and privacy.

Since 2008, Digital Rocket has been cautioning shop owners about the legal risks of sending unsolicited text messages.  Read what we wrote in this 2010 NOLN ARTICLE.  We wish that Jiffy Lube would have read our article BEFORE they ventured into texting. However, still today we hear about POS companies and other automotive vendors that are sending non-compliant text messages on behalf of shop owners.


Here are the 5 RED FLAGS that a text vendor is putting a shop owner at legal risk:

1. opt-ins are captured in an onsite POS system or database
2. vendor requests, or accepts cell phone numbers from a shop’s POS database
3. vendor asks for a consumer’s wireless provider (i.e. Verizon, Sprint, etc) in a web sign-up form
4. vendor sends text messages from a number longer than 6 digits
5. vendor cannot name its Aggregator (direct liaison with wireless carriers)